Man charged with hate crime, battery after altercation in Gonzales store
GONZALES - A 60-year-old man in Donaldsonville was arrested and charged with a hate crime after an alleged altercation with a family at a store in Gonzales.
According to the Gonzales Police Department, on Friday, Sept. 14, a family of Latino descent was shopping at Boots Etc. on Hwy. 30 in Gonzales.
While shopping, the daughter of the family, a 19-year-old, was approached by Robert Ray who told her to "go back to Mexico," according to Gonzales PD.
Police say Ray is originally from Arkansas and has been working in the area for two years. The daughter's mother, Salome Martinez, then approached Ray because her daughter was visibly upset.
Martinez was then reportedly pushed to the floor by Ray. The father of the girl, Alfredo Buitureira, an American Marine, became involved and Ray hit him "in the face with both his fist and a boot," Gonzales PD said in a press release.
Police say a fight escalated which caused damage to the rear of the store.
Robert Ray was arrested and charged with a hate crime, two counts of simple battery and criminal damage to property. He has been booked into the Ascension Parish Jail.
"Not in my city, and not on my watch, will the City of Gonzales Police Department ever tolerate actions taken against people based upon their race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry. Due to the suspect's statements that escalated this encounter, his comments clearly fall under Louisiana RS 14:107.2," Chief of Police Sherman Jackson said in a press release.
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